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Birds, Barks and Belfast: The Bovedy Meteorite 50 Years Later

Last April marked the 50th anniversary of the fall of the Bovedy meteorite, but with all the 50 year celebrations in 2019 including the first moon landing, its easy to understand how the Golden Anniversary of Bovedy could slip through the cracks.

Fortunately, the BBC remembered Bovedy’s birthday, as they should:

The arrival of Bovedy is filled with glorious stories of thunderous booms and brilliant colored lights. To farmer Samuel Gilmore, it seemed that the fireball was headed straight for him, but then passed overhead appearing more than twice the size of the moon. True to form, a meteoric mass did land on his farm leaving a foot deep crater.

At that exact same time, Noel Conner was playing football with friends when the “sky just opened up and a massive fireball came across it.” Later Noel learned that the deafening noise he heard was from the bolide breaking the sound barrier.

ASU’s Center for Meteorite Studies presents some historic images and commentary about Bovedy that is well worth a look and a read:

And perhaps the most exciting encounter story with the bolide happened when Eileen Brown was recording birdsongs in her backyard just as the sonic booms from the soon-to-be-meteorite rolled across the Northern Ireland landscape.

Lucky for us, Rob Elloitt has the audio of that recording just a click away. So click here.

The magic of Bovedy continued from the field and into the laboratory. As a rare L3 chondrite, a cut face presents a stunning array of gorgeous chondrules, nearly each one a perfect circle of cosmic history.

The Bovedy fireball scorched the sky passing over England, Wales and Ireland and several fragments were recovered. According to the Meteoritical Bulletin, the approximately 8kg of L3 material was mostly contained in a single 7400 gram individual, but this is challenged by the large (almost 5kg stone) landing on the Gilmore farm. At least according to some reports.

Finally, here is a StarDate brief on Bovedy.

To celebrate the belated birthday of Bovedy, I took my slice out of the dark safe for a walk in the sunshine. Enjoy.

Until Next Time….

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